To make sure that his beautiful 1836 Mississippi mansion didn’t turn out too much like Grandma’s – all teddy bears and rocking chairs – film director Tate Taylor called on the help of New York City designer Shawn Henderson. The renovation lasted three years and added 11 bathrooms (among many other improvements).
Madonna, here’s your second chance. The home of developer Keith Rubenstein and his wife, Inga, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has just hit the market at $84.5 million, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. They bought the century-old townhouse in 2007 for $35 million, reportedly beating out a much lower bid by Madonna. Renowned for their “over-the-top parties,” according to Architectural Digest, they even installed a ventilated smoking room for their European friends. The adjacent bathroom has mirrors cracked by bullets (edgy!) — reminiscent of the controversial party the real estate mogul threw in an abandoned warehouse last Halloween. (That party’s death-inflected theme, “Macabre Suite,” had “Bronx is burning” overtones and included a sculpture made of bullet-riddled cars. It publicized his business’s upcoming residential/retail complex in the South Bronx.) The home’s more unusual amenities also include red Hermes leather walls in the billiard room, a fur vault, a mirrored boudoir with reflective soaking tub, and a plunge pool next to a sauna. The couple told the Wall Street Journal and Architectural Digest that they spent years renovating the townhouse. Our slideshow includes photos from the current listing plus a few from the previous listing for before-and-after comparison, as well as pictures of a couple of sites that inspired some of its designs (a St. Petersburg palace, for instance, and the Oak Bar at the Plaza in New York). More on Yahoo Real Estate: • PETA Wants ‘Silence of the Lambs’ House for an ‘Empathy Museum’ (64 photos)• Aging Playboy Mansion Asks $200M; Some Call It a ‘Teardown’ (68 photos)• Developer Bet on Billionaires’ Hunger, and Won: The Story Behind ‘L.A.’s Most Extreme Home’ (46 photos)
Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian may use the same decorator, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, to help furnish their lavish homes, but their interior styles couldn’t be more opposite.
Mansion sales prices show no signs of slowing in rich enclaves such as the Hamptons, Beverly Hills and Aspen, suggesting that the global market panic has yet to spread to top trophy homes.
Someone got quite a deal on Robin Williams’ Villa of Smiles in Napa Valley. It sold for $18.1 million cash, a price that you might not immediately associate with “deal” — but consider that it’s 650-plus acres in California’s wine country (nearly 20 acres of premium vineyards), and consider also the fact that when the comedian first tried to sell it, in 2012, he was asking $35 million. And consider too the fact that the Italianate estate, commissioned by Williams himself about a decade ago, is simply gorgeous, as we rhapsodized on this site in April 2014 when he relisted it at $29.9 million. (It’s also practically the polar opposite of comedian Steve Martin’s ponderous concrete fortress.) Yahoo Celebrity notes that Williams openly acknowledged financial problems: Divorces had eaten much of his fortune, which was why he’d returned to TV in “The Crazy Ones” and listed Villa Sorriso, or Villa of Smiles. A few months later, of course, Williams was dead, having killed himself in his main house — not this one — in Tiburon, south of Napa Valley in the Bay Area. A bitter estate dispute ensued between his widow and his children, but was settled a few months ago. The design of the Villa of Smiles is, appropriately enough, inspired by the Italian Renaissance, which spawned the original comedy improv known as commedia dell'arte. Among its more delightful features: • The library has three inlaid mother-of-pearl panels, one of which might give you a little shiver of recognition if you were a fan of William’s 1989 movie “Dead Poets Society”: It says “Carpe diem,” or “Seize the day” in Latin. (The other two say “Amor vincit omnia” — “Love conquers all” in Latin — and Villa Sorriso.) • The master bedroom has a bridge (!) you cross to reach a “belvedere” – a word rooted in the Italian words for “beautiful view” – where you can sit in an open gallery and soak in the views all around. (Picture a bell tower without the bell. The popularity of the architectural feature surged in the 16th century, but you might recognize the concept from a mind-twisting Escher print. • The ceilings throughout the home are extraordinary. The library’s is gold leaf with a verdigris finish. Others are coffered, vaulted, gilded and/or tiled. Some have circular skylights, including one in a bathroom. • The dramatic master bath is done in Moroccan style, with an etched relief pattern on the shower door and a soaking tub on a raised platform overlooking the pool and the countryside. • A grand globe chandelier, made by Historical Arts and Casting in Utah, hovers over the entry. A playroom contains Matisse-like light fixtures; the dining room has a commissioned Murano glass chandelier. The architects say the estate was “designed for large-scale entertaining as well as a retreat for the family.” • Kitchen cabinets have panels inset with art glass collages. • Another detail about the home is perhaps less smile-inducing but a practical consideration for anyone who has the wherewithal to buy such an estate: It has a couple of safe rooms, described as “Kevlar-wrapped” in previous marketing material. The buyers are French winemakers, the Wall Street Journal reports. More on Yahoo Real Estate: • Boring Facade Hides Outrageous Renaissance Interior – to Fool the Tax Man (47 photos)• Steve Martin’s Arty but Utterly Unfunny Concrete Fortress (27 photos) • Comedian Danny Thomas’ Old Estate Asks a Whopping $135 Million (21 photos)
This $3.25 million mansion in Mission, Texas takes the concept of a doorway and really elevates it to new heights with this incredibly opulent, columned entrance. The rest of the house delivers on the entrance's implied promise, too, with...
The 10,000-square-foot Fay mansion is more than a century old, yet it’s never been on the market. Now it’s asking just $525,000.Apparently, the historic property, which used to be a social club, even comes with ghosts in the attic – and these aren’t just any ghosts; these are cleaning ghosts.Leslie Piermarini, the former bar manager with the social club, offers this as proof of the legend: There are no cobwebs in the attic, as though the former servants are still around cleaning it. The 1884 mansion, about 50 miles northwest of Boston in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was built for industrialist Charles Flagg Fay, whose daughter Lucy inherited it. (And Alice, Lucy’s sister, is said to be one of the ghosts.) She donated it in 1910 to become the members-only Fay Club bar and restaurant, which remained in continuous operation until last summer. Under straining costs and waning membership, the club shut down in June, according to the Sentinel & Express.While it may not be as cheap as other historic mansions we’ve featured, it does seem like a steal, especially when you factor in the free help in the form of spirit servants.Thanks to the uninterrupted ownership of people dedicated to preservation, the original building is largely untouched. All the original woodwork, mantels and stained glass remain more than 130 years later. “Everything was done by hand; the staircases, the railings, the wallpapers in there are amazing,” Piermarini told the Sentinel & Express. “There are so many relics in there. That pool table alone, how many games do you think were played there?” The pictures on the wall are all men, she says with a laugh, with skinny ties, smoking cigarettes.During Prohibition, the bar had secret compartments, and cabinets that would open when you pressed a button. “They got raided but they never got caught, and that poor cop never got a promotion,” Piermarini says.Right now, the mansion is ideally fitted for a restaurant, office space or mixed commercial/residential space, the listing says. Renovations would be required to bring the second floor back to the mansion’s days as a residence. Still, that’s what Piermarini would like to see happen to the place. She spent countless hours reading Lucy Fay’s diaries, given to her by a lawyer of the club when he died, and has fond memories of the building. Like many others in the town, she wants to see the beautiful old place preserved.More historic mansions on Yahoo Real Estate:• Aging Playboy Mansion Asks $200M; Some Call It a ‘Teardown’ (68 photos) • A Mansion Built for Jesus (26 photos)• You Can Own a 30-Room Mansion for $30K – With a Catch, of Course (25 photos)
There’s a certain kind of a mansion that’s popular in Texas: They’re ornately detailed, extravagantly appointed and classically styled. But this Texas mansion takes the cake. Not only is it all those things, but it goes one step further: This house bears a striking resemblance to the White House.Located in Preston Hollow, a ritzy suburb of Dallas, Texas, this $15 million mansion boasts exteriors that mirror those of the president’s home. Both the Dallas White House (as it’s known around town) and the real White House feature Federal-style triangular north porticos, complete with four columns across — eight columns total — as well as the same number of windows, placed in the same fashion along the front. Meanwhile, the back of the dwelling shares the curved south portico with a second-floor deck.According to listing agent Joan Eleazer, the current owners purchased the house in 2001 and are not the original owners — who built the property in 1996 — so she isn’t quite sure why the house seems to be modeled after the White House, though it’s hard to argue with the similarities. But the exterior is where the comparison stops. The current owners did extensive remodeling after purchasing the 16,000-square-foot home, including changing the floor plan, Eleazer says. It has four bedrooms and nine baths.“The home is beautiful,” she says. “The owners put their heart and soul into it. They traveled to Europe with their designer and found all kind of unique additions: fireplaces, flooring, many of the chandeliers.”The grounds show equal attention to detail: 3.3 walled acres including a koi pond, a swimming pool, a tennis pavilion and manicured landscaping that, frankly, has the White House’s beat.Property records indicate that the current owners are self-made millionaires Ralph and Cathy Oats, who own Wellness International Network, a multilevel marketing company that sells health products. [Related: Dream ‘Barn’ of Multilevel Marketer Cost $32M to Build, Now Asks $19.5M (80 photos)] While President Obama has never been to this Texas White House, he did attend a fundraiser down the street. And among the Oatses’ neighbor is reportedly one H. Ross Perot, the billionaire who ran twice for the real White House.The home has been on the market for almost a year and a half, first appearing in September 2014 for $19.5 million.So for any of the soon-to-be washouts from the current presidential campaign: If you can’t make it to the White House, you can still buy a White House.More on Yahoo Real Estate: • Agent Lists ‘Filthiest Home in Houston’ (1 video, 26 photos)• Best of 2015: Abandoned Mystery Behemoth in Texas (46 photos)• Family’s Dream ‘Barn’ Cost $32M to Build, Now Asks $19.5M (80 photos)• Bit of Cursed Mike Tyson Estate Asks $150,000 (42 photos)(Except where noted, all photos are from the listing, courtesy of the Eleazar Group, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty)
A classic mansion built for a refrigerator magnate Elmer Ellsworth McCray in the 1920s – and still possessing its eight-door built-in refrigerator, plus many other vintage details – has blown away the competition for the Wall Street Journal’s House of the Year.
A house like this one almost seems like parody, and, in fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that no one has ever built a multi-million-dollar home in jest, we would be convinced that it was parody. But it’s not. This place in Colonia, New Jersey is for real, and it is asking $4.5 million. Here is a sampling from the listing: From the moment you enter, each and every setting inspires you with wonder and romance. ...
Picture this: It’s the Roaring ’20s. An industrialist from Baltimore, MD, is looking for the perfect spot for his new home base, and he has some very specific requirements. Because although his business in the steel industry is legit, he also has a secret — he’s running guns and selling illegal liquor on the side.
The Powerball jackpot has climbed to a record $800 million, with the next drawing happening on Saturday night. We have a good feeling about this one for you. You're due. You got this. The real question is, once you...
When you step into the soaring entry hall illuminated by light from colorful leaded glass windows and an ornate Moorish chandelier, you can almost imagine the laughter bubbling up from the speakeasy downstairs, or the intimate whispers of lovers stealing a few furtive moments in the coat check room. Wander a little further, however, and reality sets in: threadbare carpet, peeling linoleum, haphazardly divided rooms and the feeling of a dowager property past its prime. This place obviously hasn’t been the scene of a sparkling Hollywood party in a very long time.Designed in the early 1920s by one of the most esteemed and in-demand architects of the day, Paul Williams, one of its earliest residents was music magnate and Los Angeles philanthropist Benjamin Platt, who owned it in its early days, when its Los Feliz neighborhood was one of Los Angeles’ swankiest — especially the lovely, shaded street of Vermont, which today leads to the famous Greek Theatre and the Griffith Observatory.C.C. Julian is another one of the home’s more notorious owners. In the late 1920s, the flamboyant oil man threw lavish parties there for the Hollywood elite and L.A. business barons of the day. He eventually swindled them out of $150 million in one of the nation’s earliest Ponzi schemes, the famous Julian Petroleum Scandal. But for the past six decades, 2600 North Vermont was owned by a Catholic missionary society that used it as a sort of way station for missionaries. Needless to say, keeping the property in luxe condition wasn’t their priority.They converted the grand ballroom into a chapel, and placed a statue of the Virgin Mary atop the colorful tile fountain in the front of the mansion. In order to accommodate missionaries and clergy, the guest, servant and owner’s wings have mostly been divided into oddly shaped bedrooms — some with sinks and inexpensive vanities installed in a corner, and all with faded and worn flooring that looks like it hasn’t been replaced in decades.Most of the fixtures and appliances are strikingly utilitarian, a stark contrast to the home’s former grandeur, achieved through meticulous design.You could also say that they paved paradise to put up a parking lot: The front and sides of the house are dominated by blacktop, white striped with parking spaces, that can accommodate up to 30 cars.But you can still get a feel for the residence’s original beauty and meticulous design from the intricately carved fireplaces, moldings, stonework and detailed ceilings and woodwork, some of which have been restored.You can also catch glimpses of the home’s former life in the arresting colored bathroom and kitchen tile, much of which has been left intact.And the fascinating speakeasy and wine cellar (discreetly designed into the home when it was built during the Prohibition era so that inspectors might miss them when exploring the house)? They were relatively untouched, with the original wine racks, taps and kegs, but of course, being untouched means they have fallen into disrepair. The Catholic order was originally focused on proselytizing in Asia, and many of their missionaries came through Los Angeles, where they had to wait some time for the proverbial slow boat to China. Housing them all in hotels became costly, so devoted patrons helped them acquire the storied mansion.Nowadays, the order’s numbers have dwindled and aged, and there are direct flights to all corners of the globe, so a large property like this one is no longer essential or practical for their purposes. The order listed it in September at about $5.5 million, then reduced the price by half a million in November. The property entered contract in early December – and a couple of weeks later, the Christmastime sale closed at $4,250,914.The property has 14 bedrooms and eight baths in 10,039 square feet of space. Lush hedges and mature foliage hide its courtyards from the prying eyes of tourists. “2600 Vermont is a piece of Los Angeles history and essentially a very valuable piece of art that needs to be restored to its original quality,” listing agent David Solomon told Yahoo Real Estate before the sale went through. “I’d hate to see this house torn down, and I highly doubt anyone would even consider it.”Yahoo Real Estate is trying to learn the buyer’s identity and plans, but Solomon speculated about the “endless” possibilities when we spoke to him earlier: “I could see a celebrity living there, a family, a bachelor or bachelorette, someone who works in the entertainment industry and wants a home production or music studio, a high-end rehab facility, and maybe even a preschool or boutique hotel/bed and breakfast, if zoning permits.”(Photos courtesy of The Agency)More mansions that need saving on Yahoo Real Estate:• You Can Own a 30-Room Mansion for $30K – With a Catch, of Course (25 photos) • The Doomed Time Capsule on Billionaire’s Beach, a $13M Teardown (28 photos) • Half-Preserved, Half-Destroyed, Woolworth Mansion Asks Just $295,000 (32 photos)And one that was saved:• We’re Calling It: This Enormous Restored Bungalow Is Hollywood’s Most Beautiful Home (41 photos)
This story, about the long-neglected Ohio mansion owned by Mike Tyson in the 1990s, was one of Yahoo Real Estate’s most popular of 2015. It was originally published April 1.Not many homes have a background as sordid as the Ohio mansion that Mike Tyson owned in the 1990s, long neglected.Photographer and urban explorer Johnny Joo (last name pronounced “yo”) — who specializes in abandoned buildings and was arrested taking pictures in the mansion in 2013 — recently gained access from the new owners, who are letting him document the imminent transformation of what he calls on his blog a “very odd forgotten structure.” The new owners intend to turn the property into a church.No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke. But it is a pretty remarkable resurrection for a home that seems, well, cursed.The 25,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1980 by then-Trumbull County Commissioner Ted Vannelli, a hairstyling mogul who lost it to foreclosure (and who, a few years ago, was convicted of fraud and money laundering in “a conspiracy that resulted in one of the largest credit union collapses in history”). It’s in Southington, about 45 miles southeast of Cleveland and about 25 miles northwest of Youngstown.Tyson bought the 60-acre property at a sheriff’s sale in 1989 for $300,000, and owned it throughout his three years in prison for raping an 18-year-old. But he lost it to financial difficulties in 1999, a few years after his release. He’d mounted a comeback that flamed out in 1997 when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear, ear(n)ing himself a $3 million fine. “We started getting letters from the IRS saying they were going to take the house and all our stuff,” his then-wife, Monica, told the New York Times. “He was depressed a lot about that” — which perhaps factored into his 1998 road-rage attack on two drivers that got him sent back to jail for a time in 1999.By the time he sold the mansion for $1.3 million, he’d already moved out because township trustees refused to let him keep pet tigers on the property, according to the local Tribune Chronicle.The buyer in 1999 was Paul Monea, a promoter of Tae Bo fitness who went to prison for tax evasion a few years later, then was eventually sent back to prison for money laundering and conspiracy after trying to sell the 43-carat Golden Eye Diamond and the mansion to drug dealers (really undercover FBI agents). One money-laundering idea he had was a webcast he’d call “Mike Tyson’s House Party,” in which he’d fill the mansion with young women and cameras, then charge viewers to watch. He’s scheduled for release from prison in 2018.Someone called moneypenny220 tried to sell the mansion on eBay in 2005 for $3.5 million, but it went into foreclosure.It sold at a sheriff’s sale in late 2009 to the first lien holder and only bidder, fitness club owner Ron Hemelgarn, for $600,000 (paid to himself as lien holder) and $360,000 in back taxes and fees.Hemelgarn had had the property up for sale off and on since 2011, but sometime around Christmas 2014, he decided to cut loose of the place, donating it to Living Word Sanctuary. Its founders and pastors, Nicholas Dejacimo and Mark Cohen, had been holding services at the local YWCA but now plan to create a large facility that can host weddings, Bible school and more.(All photos shot by Johnny Joo unless otherwise noted. He sells signed prints on his website, Architectural Afterlife, starting at $60. Click here to learn more.)
It seemed like an insane gamble: Spend millions upon millions of your personal fortune to build a house that’s so off-the-charts indulgent – $200,000 “candy wall,” $1 million-plus security system, quarter-million-dollar sculptures (plural) – that the Los Angeles Times won’t feel too hyperbolic declaring it “L.A.’s most extreme home.” Then charge $85 million for it and let the market have its way. That the market certainly did. The 23,000-square-foot Beverly Hills gargantumansion notoriously sold a year ago for $70 million — cash — to Minecraft founder Markus “Notch” Persson, a Swede who sold his Mojang game company to Microsoft and crossed into the billionaire club. Notch reportedly outbid Beyonce and Jay-Z. Yahoo Real Estate spoke at length with Bruce Makowsky, the ultra-rich man who put a sizable chunk of his personal money and reputation on the line to build the spec house. And we have to say, the way Makowsky explained his venture, we started to see his logic (though we wouldn’t have gambled our millions … lesson one, perhaps, in why we still don’t have any). But first you had to think like a billionaire. More Money Than Time Makowsky had no problem thinking like a billionaire. He wasn’t one, but he wasn’t far off, members of his team told Yahoo Real Estate. He made his fortune in handbags and other women’s accessories, which you might have seen everywhere from QVC to Bloomingdale’s. “I have a big mega-yacht and toys and planes,” Makowsky told us. “I kind of understand what very wealthy people want.” Take yachts. (Bear with us, because this circles back to his real estate thinking.) He sat in the Beverly Hills gargantumansion with a prospective buyer who had a mutual interest in boats – who had, in fact, ordered up a 300-footer, at a cost of about $200 million. Makowsky asked how often the visitor sailed. About eight weeks a year, the visitor replied. The operating costs on that yacht were about $8 million a year, or a million for each week of use. Admittedly, we’re not sailors, but that seems mind-boggling: a boat that’s about twice as expensive as the most expensive mansion ever sold in America (and a mansion comes with land!). What is so special about a $200 million yacht? we asked Makowsky. He said that, in a nutshell, “every detail inside that boat is spectacular.” Every single detail. You don’t spend a couple hundred million on a yacht, hire a world-class chef and then tell a guest who wants pizza that you’re out of pepperoni, he said. On a billionaire’s yacht, you can’t ever be out of pepperoni; your fridge had better be big, and it’d better be stocked with every staple imaginable, plus some ingredients you’d barely dream of. We’ll be honest. We weren’t entirely convinced that 24-hour personal pizzas equal $200 million of special. So he cited too the punishing saltwater, the unremitting barrage of ocean waves, the systems and craftsmanship required to keep the boat afloat. As he spoke, though, it dawned on us that maybe the truth is something he can’t say out loud, at least not to a non-billionaire: Maybe yachts aren’t exactly $200 million worth of special, but to a billionaire, does that really matter? “A lot of the wealthy people have more money than time,” he said, and “wealthy people are getting wealthier.” There’s a backlog for mega-yachts that’s “incredible right now,” Makowsky told us. “I have a big boat – and I take it down to St. Bart’s and I’m the smallest boat in the marina.” The Lure of the New So you’re a billionaire, and you’ve spent $200 million on a yacht and $100 million on a jet and maybe a few million on your car collection. By now you may be making money almost faster than you can spend it: At a measly 1 percent interest, a billion dollars would generate $10 million a year. Your real estate agent, meanwhile, keeps showing you houses that are $20 million, $30 million, maybe $50 million. They don’t knock your Cervelt socks off. Compared to the kind of money you’ve been spending, they might even seem a little, well, piddling. And while 10,000 square feet may have been considered a big house a decade ago, that attitude has changed among the super-rich, who now demand “super-large,” Makowsky said. The mansion he built is more than twice that size. There are “a lot of nice homes” out there, “but they’re tired,” he said. “Nothing brand-new.” Is newness that important to the ultra-wealthy? we asked. “They want to feel like they’re the first person in that house. … They want to feel like it’s theirs,” he said. That’s why, he said, he didn’t hold any open houses, or even one of the parties that’s become more common for high-end L.A. real estate. He wanted to preserve its untouchability. Makowsky was emphatic. “People. Want. New.” The natural conclusion might seem that they should build their own dream house, tailored to their tastes and desires. But remember to think like a billionaire who has more money than time. (And remember, too, that billionaires might easily own a dozen ultra-luxury properties at once; that’s how many homes most Americans have in a lifetime. As ultra-high-end developer Nile Niami says: “Nobody buys a 100,000-square-foot house as their principal residence to use every day.”) They’d have to scout out the perfect lot – and in Los Angeles, promontories with downtown-to-ocean views are so coveted that a nearby family reportedly refused an offer of $75 million for their house, which developers intended to bulldoze. Then they’d have to get all the necessary local permissions and build the place. It takes “four to six years to do what we did here,” Makowsky said. Not only that, they’d have to devote time and attention to all the hundreds of details that accumulate as luxury. On a yacht, luxury is made up of sea-hardiness, of masterful design in deceptively limited space, of laid-in pizza supplies. At the mansion Makowsky built, it’s mirrors placed so that wherever you are in the master bath, you can see downtown Los Angeles behind you, right down to the mirror backing within the medicine cabinet; it’s the drawers you open to discover they’re lined with crocodile; it’s “the most beautiful hangers” dangling in the closet. Makowsky’s idea, in other words, was to “bring mega-yachts to land,” packaged up and ready to go, right down to the administrative staffing. Which was an interesting proposition, because if billionaires were willing to spend $200 million plus $8 million a year on a boat they rarely used, what would their limit be for the right house? ‘The Air Is Absolutely Thin Up There’ The particular audacity of Makowsky’s venture is that the spec house Notch bought represented only Phase 1. Two more estates were in the works, and he said they’d be even more expensive. “I want to be like the Four Seasons of residential building,” he told us. We think it’d take nerves of steel to build one spec house priced so high. How many billionaire prospects could there be? “The air is absolutely thin up there,” he acknowledges, but he says 4,000 people worldwide are worth at least $500 million. Forbes counts a record 1,645 billionaires on the planet. Meanwhile, brand-new, ultra-high-end houses like his are scarce. “Other than Donald Trump building something down in Palm Beach, this is the second-highest[-cost] spec house ever built in the United States.” We checked with Zillow, and only about 30 homes nationwide are publicly listed at more than $50 million. Just seven of them are asking $75 million or more. (Important caveat: This doesn’t include so-called “pocket” or “whisper” listings, or any other kind of off-market listing.) So maybe Makowsky is onto something. His fellow L.A. developers sure seem to think so: Locally, there’s a bit of a stampede toward gargantumansions asking $100 million or more. And one of them, Nile Niami, is expected to list a 100,000-square-foot spec house at half a billion dollars in the next year or so. More gargantumansions on Yahoo Real Estate: • Family’s Dream ‘Barn’ Cost $32M to Build, Now Asks $19.5M (80 photos)• Gargauntumansion Shakeup! Florida Reclaims Most Expensive Home Title; L.A. Palace Gives Up to … Grow Potatoes (50-plus images, 1 video)• The Wild World of L.A.’s Nine-Figure Gargantumansions (1 video, 24 images)• Bunker-Like Underground Mansion Is One Way to Dodge Zoning Rules (51 photos)
The tale of David and Jackie Siegel’s “Versailles” in Florida, America’s biggest home (though incomplete), was one of Yahoo Real Estate’s most popular of 2015.
This nation may not be a monarchy, but modern-day palaces fit for royalty grace the estate market, awaiting their Prince (or Princess) Charming. Why do these homes carry the heftiest of price tags? Coveted locales, private stretches of cerulean waters, bountiful grounds, and custom details just scratch the surface.From dreamy seaside villas to grand hilltop manors, these premium properties cater to the most extraordinary dreams. Check out the following 10 listings, detailing some of the biggest home transactions conducted in 2015.Related on Zillow Porchlight:• The Most Expensive Home for Sale in Every State• San Francisco’s Most Expensive One-Bedroom Sells for $2.3M• Most Expensive Hamptons Home Hits the Market for $140 Million
This six-bed, eight-bath mansion in Spring, Texas looks like a Christmas ice palace. We’re just going to assume it’s decorated like this, with wreaths, tinsel, and tree in practically every room, year round because it’s basically impossible to imagine it any other way after seeing these pictures.
Below, we’re republishing Yahoo Real Estate’s most popular story of the year. It originally appeared in May 2015 under the headline “Abandoned behemoth with 46 bedrooms – or ‘more like 70’ – is for sale in Texas (where else?)” It drew millions of readers and tens of millions of page views, nearly twice as many as the runner-up … which, now that we think about it, was also about an abandoned behemoth, albeit a glorious French chateau. The Texas property is finally pending sale as of this writing, according to numerous real estate websites.Now this is more like it! Don’t you think?Forget Jackie Siegel and her biggest-home-in-the-nation Florida “Versailles” with its piddling 30 bedrooms or so, which was once on the market for $75 million unfinished.This Texas structure is being marketed as a 60,175-square-foot “shell” of a single-family home on about 15 acres, with 46 bedrooms and 26 bathrooms — “more than enough room for the entire family inside and outside!” the listing says — for $3.5 million. Those room counts are only estimates, by the way. “It’s probably more like 70 bedrooms,” listing agent Mona Miller tells the Houston Chronicle. “They’re not completed, so it’s difficult to tell.”Rumors about this residence and its junior version next door, which is about half the size at a mere 32,000 square feet, have been circulating locally for going on a decade. They’re in Manvel, near Pearland, about half an hour’s drive south of Houston. In 2009 the Houston Press got a glimpse of the bigger one, which it dubbed “Pearland’s mystery mansion,” and judging from the current photos, the property has been essentially abandoned for the intervening six years.Even Miller isn’t sure of the real story, but she’s heard that a physician and his wife started building the bigger structure in 2001 as a surgery rehab center, then turned their attention to building a smaller (air quotes) neighbor. Old listing photos for Junior –included at the end of our slideshow – show a furnished, finished and distinctly institutional-looking dwelling that was billed as being available for residential or commercial use.The bigger behemoth now on the market was earlier floated as a “special purpose” property but apparently didn’t go over with prospective buyers. According to that listing, the property was “originally designed to be a senior assisted-living center, but was not completed.” No kidding.More of Yahoo Real Estate’s most popular stories of 2015:• In Off-the-Grid Yurt, Montana Couple Live 'On Our Own Terms’ (56 photos) • Family’s Dream ‘Barn’ Cost $32M to Build, Now Asks $19.5M (80 photos)• This Enormous Restored Bungalow Is Hollywood’s Most Beautiful Home (41 photos)• 8 Friends, 4 Tiny Houses All in a Row (35 photos)
Forget lumpy futons and tiny kitchens. For these members of Young Hollywood, homeownership means snagging prime real estate, palatial party pads, and expansive estates. Here’s a bevy of stars under 30 whose Los Angeles real estate will make you drool with envy.
Among the (most) fun aspects of this nearly-10,000-square-foot Oklahoma City home are the cathedral windows, the leopard print theme scattered throughout, the twin vases flanking the bed in the master bedroom, and, of course, the turrets. Actually, mainly the...
This Utah home is a $19.5 million mansion dressed up as a barn. The 20,000-square-foot home, located 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City, sits in the state’s largest private grove of sequoia trees, the house looks out over a pond and has views of snow-capped mountains.
If a barn and a mansion had a child, it would be this property.“The Barn” is a 20,000-square-foot mansion on 20 acres of farmland about 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City. Sitting in Utah’s largest private grove of sequoia trees, the house looks out over a pond and has views of snow-capped mountains.And if the natural wonder isn’t enough, there’s a movie theater crafted and decorated by experts from Disney Studios, a “little red schoolhouse,” a “storybook treehouse,” and a 3.5-acre motocross track with a bike maintenance shop, according to the listing, which bills it as “one family’s dream to create a place where memories could be made to last a lifetime.”The owner “could have built anything he wanted, but he wanted to create a home that had a sense of belonging to the area, so he bought farmland and built a barn-like structure in the farmland,” Sotheby’s International Realty agent Kerry Oman tells Yahoo Real Estate.The place is in Orem, a booming outer-ring suburb of Salt Lake whose growth is owed partly to numerous multilevel marketing firms headquartered there. According to property records, the owner of The Barn is the CEO of one such firm: Kerry Asay co-founded Morinda Inc., perhaps best known for selling Tahitian noni juice. The owners built The Barn 12 years ago as a kind of weekend escape from the more manageably sized home nearby where they live. The Barn is one of those massive mansions that is more playhouse than home. “They wanted a place where everybody could gather, a meeting spot to have fun with the kids and grandkids,” Oman says.The nine-bedroom, 20-bathroom house is stuffed with family-friendly activities: The motocross track comes with a shop to store and work on the bikes. You can take a boat out on the pond and catch some bass stocked there. If the kids want to play school, they don’t even have to use their imaginations to create a classroom; there’s a little one-room schoolhouse right there on the property.The house is gated off and tucked away in groves of trees, so it’s barely visible from the road. It’s also self-reliant, with a back-up generator and private water and irrigation system.“People drive by and look through the massive trees and they know something is back there, but there’s definitely never been pictures of it,” Oman says. “This is the first look.”It’s also thought to be the largest residence in the state with a timber frame, which is what gives it that rustic look and wide open rooms with dramatic vaulted ceilings. The rustic interiors are punctuated with massive stone fireplaces (”they really are as big as I have ever seen in any home,” Oman says).The whole thing cost Asay more than $32 million to build, Oman says, which the $19.5 million asking price won’t even come close to covering. But so it goes with highly customized mega-mansions.Oman says he is marketing it to family buyers as well as corporations looking to come in and host seminars and retreats.The property has been “all over social media in Utah,” he says. “A friend of my daughter texted it to her last night and said, ‘Oh, this is my dream house.’”
“Enfranchising 16-year-olds would be good for them and good for our democracy.”
“At 16, most kids have little awareness of politics, civics, or American history.”
“Voting is habit forming...which underscores the importance of having as stable an environment as possible for the youngest voters.”
“Keeping the voting age at 18 is not a slap at 16-year-olds. It is recognition that an informed electorate is the best kind.”
“When young people’s participation lags badly, issues important to them receive short shrift in the public discourse.”